Byzantine Empire


by Livius
published on 28 April 2011
Empire of Justinian I (US Military Academy)

The Byzantine Empire was the continuation of the Eastern Roman Empire in the Greek-speaking, eastern part of the Mediterranean. Christian in nature, it was perennially at war with the Muslims, Flourishing during the reign of the Macedonian emperors, its demise was the consequence of attacks by Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks.

Byzantium was the name of a small, but important town at the Bosphorus, the strait which connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean to the Black Sea, and separates the continents of Europe and Asia. In Greek times the town was at the frontier between the Greek and the Persian world. In the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great made both worlds part of his Hellenistic universe, and later Byzantium became a town of growing importance within the Roman Empire.

Remove Ads


By the third century CE, the Romans had many thousands of miles of border to defend. Growing pressure caused a crisis, especially in the Danube/Balkan area, where the Goths violated the borders. In the East, the Sasanian Persians transgressed the frontiers along the Euphrates and Tigris. The emperor Constantine the Great (reign 306-337 CE) was one of the first to realize the impossibility of managing the empire's problems from distant Rome.


So, in 330 CE Constantine decided to make Byzantium, which he had refounded a couple of years before and named after himself, his new residence. Constantinople lay halfway between the Balkan and the Euphrates, and not too far from the immense wealth and manpower of Asia Minor, the vital part of the empire.  

"Byzantium" was to become the name for the East-Roman Empire. After the death of Constantine, in an attempt to overcome the growing military and administrative problem, the Roman Empire was divided into an eastern and a western part. The western part is considered as definitely finished by the year 476 CE, when its last ruler was dethroned and a military leader, Odoacer, took power.

Remove Ads



In the course of the fourth century, the Roman world became increasingly Christian, & the Byzantine Empire was certainly a Christian state.

In the course of the fourth century, the Roman world became increasingly Christian, and the Byzantine Empire was certainly a Christian state. It was the first empire in the world to be founded not only on worldly power, but also on the authority of the Church. Paganism, however, stayed an important source of inspiration for many people during the first centuries of the Byzantine Empire. 

When Christianity became organized, the Church was led by five patriarchs, who resided in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome. The Council of Chalcedon (451 CE) decided that the patriarch of Constantinople was to be the second in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Only the pope in Rome was his superior. After the Great Schism of 1054 CE the eastern (Orthodox) church separated form the western (Roman Catholic) church. The centre of influence of the orthodox churches later shifted to Moscow.

Cultural Life

Since the age of the great historian Edward Gibbon, the Byzantine Empire has a reputation of stagnation, great luxury and corruption. Most surely the emperors in Constantinople held an eastern court. That means court life was ruled by a very formal hierarchy. There were all kinds of political intrigues between factions. However, the image of a luxury-addicted, conspiring, decadent court with treacherous empresses and an inert state system is historically inaccurate. On the contrary: for its age, the Byzantine Empire was quite modern. Its tax system and administration were so efficient that the empire survived more than a thousand years.

Remove Ads


The culture of Byzantium was rich and affluent, while science and technology also flourished. Very important for us, nowadays, was the Byzantine tradition of rhetoric and public debate. Philosophical and theological discources were important in public life, even emperors taking part in them. The debates kept knowledge and admiration for the Greek philosophical and scientific heritage alive. Byzantine intellectuals quoted their classical predecessors with great respect, even though they had not been Christians. And although it was the Byzantine emperor Justinian who closed Plato's famous Academy of Athens in 529 CE, the Byzantines are also responsible for much of the passing on of the Greek legacy to the Muslims, who later helped Europe to explore this knowledge again and so stood at the beginning of European Renaissance.

Map of Byzantine Constantinople


Byzantine history goes from the founding of Constantinople as an imperial residence on 11 May 330 CE until Tuesday 29 May 1453 CE, when the Ottoman sultan Memhet II conquered the city. Most times the history of the Empire is divided into three periods.

The first of these, from 330 till 867 CE, saw the creation and survival of a powerful empire. During the reign of Justinian (527-565 CE), a last attempt was made to reunite the whole Roman Empire under one ruler, the one in Constantinople. This plan largely succeeded: the wealthy provinces in Italy and Africa were reconquered, Libya was rejuvenated, and money bought sufficient diplomatic influence in the realms of the Frankish rulers in Gaul and the Visigothic dynasty in Spain. The refound unity was celebrated with the construction of the church of Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, in Constantinople. The price for the reunion, however, was high. Justinian had to pay off the Sasanian Persians, and had to deal with firm resistance, for instance in Italy.

Under Justinian, the lawyer Tribonian (500-547 CE) created the famous Corpus Iuris. The Code of Justinian, a compilation of all the imperial laws, was published in 529 CE; soon the Institutions (a handbook) and the Digests (fifty books of jurisprudence), were added. The project was completed with some additional laws, the Novellae. The achievement becomes even more impressive when we realize that Tribonian was temporarily relieved of his function during the Nika riots of 532 CE, which in the end weakened the position of patricians and senators in the government, and strengthened the position of the emperor and his wife.

Justinian I

After Justinian, the Byzantine and Sasanian empires suffered heavy losses in a terrible war. The troops of the Persian king Khusrau II captured Antioch and Damascus, stole the True Cross from Jerusalem, occupied Alexandria, and even reached the Bosphorus. In the end, the Byzantine armies were victorious under the emperor Heraclius (reign 610-642 CE).

However, the empire was weakened and soon lost Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Cyrenaica, and Africa to the Islamic Arabs. For a moment, Syracuse on Sicily served as imperial residence.  At the same time, parts of Italy were conquered by the Lombards, while Bulgars settled south of the Danube. The ultimate humiliation took place in 800 CE, when the leader of the Frankish barbarians in the West, Charlemagne, preposterously claimed that he, and not the ruler in Constantinople, was the Christian emperor.

Macedonian Dynasty

The second period in Byzantine history consists of its apogee. It fell during the Macedonian dynasty (867-1057 CE). After an age of contraction, the empire expanded again and in the end, almost every Christian city in the East was within the empire's borders. On the other hand, wealthy Egypt and large parts of Syria were forever lost, and Jerusalem was not reconquered.

In 1014 CE the mighty Bulgarian empire, which had once been a very serious threat to the Byzantine state, was finally overcome after a bloody war, and became part of the Byzantine Empire. The victorious emperor, Basil II, was surnamed Boulgaroktonos, "Slayer of Bulgars". The northern border now was finally secured and the empire flourished.

Throughout this whole period the Byzantine currency, the nomisma, was the leading currency in the Mediterranean world. It was a stable currency ever since the founding of Constantinople. Its importance shows how important Byzantium was in economics and finance.

Constantinople was the city where people of every religion and nationality lived next to one another, all in their own quarters and with their own social structures. Taxes for foreign traders were just the same as for the inhabitants. This was unique in the world of the middle ages.


Despite these favorable conditions, Italian cities like Venice and Amalfi, gradually gained influence and became serious competitors. Trade in the Byzantine world was no longer the monopoly of the Byzantines themselves. Fuel was added to these beginning trade conflicts when the pope and patriarch of Constantinople went separate ways in 1054 CE (the Great Schism).

Decay became inevitable after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 CE. Here, the Byzantine army under the emperor Romanus IV Diogenes, although reinforced by Frankish mercenaries, was beaten by an army of the Seljuk Turks, commanded by Alp Arslan ("the Lion"). Romanus was probably betrayed by one of his own generals, Joseph Tarchaniotes, and by his nephew Andronicus Ducas. 

Byzantine coins of Heraclius

After the battle, the Byzantine Empire lost Antioch, Aleppo, and Manzikert, and within years, the whole of Asia Minor was overrun by Turks. From now on, the empire was to suffer from manpower shortage almost permanently. In this crisis, a new dynasty, the Comnenes, came to power. To obtain new Frankish mercenaries, emperor Alexius sent a request for help to pope Urban II, who responded by summoning the western world for the Crusades. The western warriors swore loyalty to the emperor, reconquered parts of Anatolia, but kept Antioch, Edessa, and the Holy Land for themselves.

Decline & Fall

For the Byzantines, it was increasingly difficult to contain the westerners. They were not only fanatic warriors, but also shrewd traders. In the twelfth century, the Byzantines created a system of diplomacy in which deals were concluded with towns like Venice that secured trade by offering favorable positions to merchants of friendly cities.

Soon, the Italians were everywhere, and they were not always willing to accept that the Byzantines had a different faith. In the age of the Crusades, the Greek Orthodox Church could become a target of violence too. So it could happen that Crusaders plundered the Constantinople in 1204 CE. Much of the loot can still be seen in the church of San Marco in Venice.  

For more than half a century, the empire was ruled by monarchs from the West, but they never succeeded in gaining full control. Local rulers continued the Byzantine traditions, like the grandiloquently named "emperors" of the Anatolian mini-states surrounding Trapezus, where the Comnenes continued to rule, and Nicaea, which was ruled by the Palaiologan dynasty.

Hagia Sophia

The Seljuk Turks, who are also known as the Sultanate of Rum, benefited greatly of the division of the Byzantine Empire, and initially strengthened their positions. Their defeat, in 1243 CE, in a war against the Mongols, prevented them from adding Nicaea and Trapezus as well. Consequently, the two Byzantine mini-states managed to survive.

The Palaiologans even managed to capture Constantinople in 1261 CE, but the Byzantine Empire was now in decline. It kept losing territory, until finally the Ottoman Empire (which had replaced the Sultanate of Rum) under Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453 CE and took over government. Trapezus surrendered eight years later.

Artistic Legacy

After the Ottoman take-over, many Byzantine artists and scholars fled to the West, taking with them precious manuscripts. They were not the first ones. Already in the fourteenth century, Byzantine artisans, abandoning the declining cultural life of Constantinople, had found ready employ in Italy. Their work was greatly appreciated and western artists were ready to copy their art. One of the most striking examples of Byzantine influence is to be seen in the work of the painter Giotto, one of the important Italian artists of the early Renaissance. 


Remove Ads


Help us write more

We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Each article costs us about $50 in history books as source material, plus editing and server costs. You can help us create even more free articles for as little as $5 per month, and we'll give you an ad-free experience to thank you! Become a Member

Recommended Books



Cite This Work

APA Style

Livius, . (2011, April 28). Byzantine Empire. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Livius, . "Byzantine Empire." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified April 28, 2011.

MLA Style

Livius, . "Byzantine Empire." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 28 Apr 2011. Web. 19 Mar 2018.

Remove Ads


Add Event


Visual Timeline
  • 285 CE
    The Roman empire is split into the Western and Eastern Roman empires.
  • 313 CE
    Roman emperor Constantine I tolerates Christianity.
  • 11 May 330 CE
    Constantinople is founded on the site of old Byzantium as “the new Rome.”
  • 361 CE
    Roman emperor Julian attempts to revive Paganism.
  • 376 CE
    The Visigoths are fleeing the Huns, entering the Eastern Roman Empire.
  • 378 CE
    The Goths defeat Emperor Valens is near Adrianople.
  • 391 CE
    Emperor Theodosius closes pagan temples.
  • 395 CE - 408 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Arkadios.
  • 395 CE - 637 CE
    Byblos is a colony of the Byzantine Empire (formerly known as the Eastern Roman Empire).
  • 408 CE - 450 CE
    Reign of Byzantine Emperor Thedosius II.
  • 410 CE - 413 CE
    The Theodosian Walls are built to better protect Constantinople.
  • 450 CE - 457 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Marcian.
  • 457 CE
    Leo I is crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople, the first Byzantine emperor to be crowned by a bishop.
  • 457 CE - 474 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leo I.
  • 466 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo I gives his daughter Ariadne as a wife to the Isaurian chief Tarasicodissa (Zeno).
  • 468 CE
    A Byzantine army led by Basiliscus is defeated by the Vandals in North Africa.
  • 469 CE
    The Byzantine Empire builds the Anastasian Wall.
  • 471 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo I conspires to murder his rival the general Aspar.
  • 474 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leo II.
  • 491 CE - 518 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I introduces the copper follis coin (288 are worth one gold nomisma).
  • 491 CE - 518 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Anastasios I.
  • c. 493 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I builds the Long Wall in Thrace to protect Constantinople.
  • 497 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I recognises Theodoric as the King of Italy.
  • 498 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I abolishes the chrysargyron, an unpopular tax on business transactions.
  • c. 504 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I retakes the fortress of Amida on the Persian frontier.
  • 505 CE - 507 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I builds a new fortress at Anastasiopolis (Dara) on the frontier with Persia.
  • 506 CE
    A peace treaty is signed between the Byzantine Empire and the Persians.
  • 507 CE
    Byzantine emperor Anastasios I sends Childeric, the king of the Franks in Gaul, a fleet to aid his war with the Ostrogoths.
  • 513 CE - 515 CE
    Vitalian leads a revolt in Byzantine Thrace.
  • 518 CE - 527 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Justin I.
  • 525 CE
    Justinian I marries Theodora, a woman from a poor background and possibly a courtesan.
  • 527 CE - 565 CE
    Reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
  • c. 527 CE - 646 CE
    The Byzantine Empire controls Egypt.
  • 531 CE - 534 CE
    Byzantine forces engaged in a series of military campaigns against the Slavs and other groups.
  • 533 CE
    Belisarius defeats the Persians to the east of the Byzantine Empire and the Vandals of Africa.
  • 533 CE - 534 CE
    The Vandal War launched by Emperor Justinian I, aimed a reconquering Africa from the Vandals.
  • 534 CE
    Justinian of the Byzantine Empire conquers the Vandal kingdom in Africa.
  • 535 CE
    Belisarius' first campaign against the Ostrogoths in Italy.
  • 536 CE
    Rome falls to Belisarius.
  • 536 CE - 562 CE
    The Byzantine Empire conquers Italy.
  • 545 CE
    Belisarius' second campaign against the Ostrogoths in Italy.
  • c. 550 CE
    The Slavs advance towards Thessalonica, entering the region of the Hebrus River and the Thracian coast. Thessalonica is saved by the Roman army.
  • 554 CE
    Byzantine Empire conquers southern Iberia.
  • Jul 556 CE - c. Jul 572 CE
    Samaritan revolt beginning in Caesarea Maritima, perhaps with Jewish support. A number of churches are destroyed and there is a significant loss of life.
  • 565 CE - 578 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Justin II.
  • 578 CE - 582 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Tiberius II.
  • c. 580 CE
    The Slavs and the Avars overwhelm Greece, Thrace and Thessaly.
  • 582 CE - 602 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Maurice.
  • 585 CE
    The Slavs march on to Constantinople, they are driven off by the Roman defence.
  • 602 CE - 610 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Phocas.
  • 607 CE - 627 CE
    East Rome defeats Sasanian Persia.
  • 610 CE - 641 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Heraclius.
  • 626 CE
    A coalition of Persians, Slavs, Avars and Bulgars unsuccessfully lays siege to Constantinople.
  • 627 CE
    Byzantine emperor Heraclius wins a crushing victory over the Persian army at Nineveh.
  • 628 CE
    Byzantine Empire re-takes Alexandria, Egypt, from the Persians.
  • 636 CE
    A Byzantine army is crushed by an Arab force at the battle of Yarmuk.
  • 637 CE
    Muslim invasion of the Levant. The Byzantines are driven out.
  • 641 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine III.
  • 641 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Heraklonas.
  • 641 CE - 668 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constans II.
  • 642 CE
    Byzantine Alexandria falls to the Arab Caliphate.
  • 649 CE
    The Arab Caliphate attacks Byzantine Cyprus.
  • 654 CE
    Byzantine Crete, Kos and Rhodes fall to the Arab Caliphate.
  • 655 CE
    A Byzantine fleet is destroyed by the Arab Caliphate off the coast of Lycia.
  • 659 CE
    A peace treaty is signed between the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Caliphate.
  • 668 CE - 685 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine IV.
  • 674 CE - 678 CE
    The Arab Umayyad Caliphate unsuccessfully besieges Constantinople.
  • 678 CE
    First recorded use of Greek Fire in Byzantine warfare during the Arab siege of Constantinople.
  • 679 CE
    The Umayyad Caliphate is obliged by treaty to give up former Byzantine territories in the Aegean.
  • 680 CE
    A Byzantine naval fleet is defeated by the Bulgars.
  • 680 CE - 681 CE
    The Sixth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople declares the end of Monotheletism and Monoenergism.
  • 681 CE
    Byzantine emperor Constantine IV signs a peace treaty with the Bulgars.
  • 685 CE - 695 CE
    First reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian II.
  • c. 691 CE
    Byzantine emperor Justinian II mints the first coins to depict Jesus Christ.
  • 695 CE
    The usurper Leontios exiles Byzantine emperor Justinian II.
  • 695 CE - 698 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leontios.
  • 698 CE
    The Byzantine ruler Leontios is exiled by the usurper Apsimar (aka Tiberios III).
  • 698 CE - 705 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Tiberios II.
  • 705 CE
    Justinian II besieges Constantinople and reinstates himself as Byzantine emperor, removing the usurper Tiberios III.
  • 705 CE - 711 CE
    Second reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian II.
  • 709 CE
    Byzantine Tyana in Cappadocia is lost to the Arabs.
  • 711 CE
    Pope Constantine visits Constantinople at the invitation of Byzantine emperor Justinian II.
  • 711 CE - 713 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Philippikos.
  • 4 Nov 711 CE
    The general and usurper Philippikos murders Byzantine emperor Justinian II.
  • 713 CE - 716 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Anastasius II
  • 716 CE - 717 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Theodosius III.
  • 717 CE - 718 CE
    Greek Fire is used by Byzantine ships to attack an Arab fleet besieging Constantinople.
  • 717 CE - 741 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leo III.
  • 717 CE - 802 CE
    The Isaurian dynasty, founded by Leo III, rules the Byzantine Empire.
  • 720 CE - 721 CE
    The silver miliaresion coin is introduced in the Byzantine Empire by Leo III.
  • 726 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo III makes legal reforms, publishing his Ecloga.
  • 730 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo III decrees that all religious icons be destroyed.
  • 740 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo III wins a decisive victory over the Arabs at the battle of Akroinon.
  • 741 CE - 775 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine V
  • 744 CE
    Emperor Constantine V regains the Byzantine throne from the usurper Artabasdos.
  • 746 CE - 752 CE
    Byzantine emperor Constantine V conducts successful campaigns in northern Syria and Armenia.
  • 754 CE
    The Council of Hieria declares the worship of icons by Christians as heresy.
  • 755 CE
    Byzantine emperor Constantine V instigates a persecution of Christians who worship icons.
  • 756 CE - 775 CE
    Byzantine emperor Constantine V wins a string of military victories against the Bulgars.
  • 775 CE - 780 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leo IV.
  • 780 CE - 790 CE
    Empress Irene rules as regent for Byzantine emperor Constantine VI.
  • 780 CE - 797 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine VI (with Empress Iren as regent 780-790 CE).
  • Sep 787 CE
    The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea rules an end to iconoclasm in the Byzantine Christian Church.
  • 790 CE
    Byzantine emperor Constantine VI exiles his mother and regent Empress Irene.
  • 795 CE
    Constantine VI divorces Mary of Amnia and then marries his mistress Theodote, causing the so-called Moechian Controversy, which divides the Byzantine Church.
  • 797 CE
    Byzantine empress Irene blinds and kills her son Constantine VI.
  • 797 CE - 802 CE
    Empress Irene rules the Byzantine empire.
  • 802 CE - 811 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Nikephoros I.
  • 807 CE
    A peace treaty is signed between king of the Franks Charlemagne and Byzantine emperor Nikephoros I.
  • 811 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Stavrakios.
  • 811 CE - 813 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Michael I.
  • 813 CE - 820 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leo V the Armenian.
  • 814 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo V the Armenian defeats a Bulgar army near Mesembria.
  • 815 CE
    Byzantine emperor Leo V the Armenian proclaims the veneration of icons as heresy.
  • 820 CE - 823 CE
    Byzantine emperor Michael II puts down a revolt led by Thomas the Slav.
  • 820 CE - 829 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Michael II.
  • 821 CE - 822 CE
    Greek Fire is used by Byzantine ships to attack a Slav fleet besieging Constantinople.
  • 829 CE - 842 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Theophilos.
  • 830 CE - 831 CE
    Byzantine emperor Theophilos wins victories in Cilica and awards himself a triumph.
  • 838 CE
    The Arab Caliphate defeats a Byzantine army and captures the cities of Ankara and Amorion.
  • 839 CE
    The Byzantine empire loses Taranto in southern Italy to the western Arabs.
  • 842 CE - 855 CE
    Theodora rules as regent for her son Michael III, emperor of the Byzantine empire.
  • 842 CE - 867 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Michael III.
  • 855 CE - 856 CE
    Michael III removes his mother Theodora, the regent, and rules alone as emperor of the Byzantine empire.
  • 856 CE
    The armies of Byzantine emperor Michael III win great victories in Cappadocia and Mesopotamia.
  • 863 CE
    Byzantine emperor Michael III sends Saint Cyril and Methodius on a mission to Moravia.
  • 864 CE
    Byzantine emperor Michael III presides over the baptism of Boris I, khan of the Bulgars.
  • 866 CE
    Byzantine emperor Michael III makes Basil the Macedonian co-emperor.
  • 867 CE
    Basil the Macedonian murders Byzantine emperor Michael III and declares himself Emperor Basil I.
  • 867 CE - 886 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Basil I.
  • 886 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil I is (probably) murdered by his son and successor Leo VI.
  • 886 CE - 912 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Leo VI.
  • 894 CE
    Symeon, Tsar of the Bulgars, invades Thrace, then Byzantine territory.
  • 1 Aug 902 CE
    Byzantine Taormina on Sicily falls to Arab attacks.
  • 904 CE
    Leo of Tripoli leads an Arab force which sacks Byzantine Thessaloniki and Abydos.
  • 912 CE
    Byzantine emperor Constantine VII inherits the throne but is served by four consecutive regents.
  • 912 CE - 913 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Alexander.
  • 920 CE
    Romanos I's Tome of Union reconciles the rift in the Byzantine Church caused by Leo VI's third and fourth marriages.
  • 920 CE - 944 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Romanos I.
  • 922 CE
    Byzantine emperor Romanos I passes a law to protect the land of the peasantry.
  • 934 CE
    A Byzantine army captures Melitene in Cappadocia.
  • 941 CE
    Greek Fire is used by Romanos I's fleet against a Russian fleet attacking Constantinople.
  • 943 CE
    A Byzantine army led by John Kourkouas captures the border Mesopotamians fortresses of Nisibis, Dara, Amida, and Martyropolis.
  • 944 CE
    A Byzantine army led by John Kourkouas besieges Edessa.
  • 945 CE - 959 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine VII (ruled with a regent from 912 CE).
  • 963 CE - 969 CE
    Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II Phokas introduces the gold tetarteron coin (one-twelfth of a gold nomisma in value).
  • 972 CE
    Byzantine emperor John I Tzimisces uses Greek Fire to take the Bulgar capital of Preslav, then in Russian hands.
  • 976 CE - 1,025 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Basil II.
  • 986 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II suffers a terrible defeat to Samuel the Bulgar at Trajan's Gate.
  • 987 CE - 989 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II defeats the usurpers Bardas Skleros and Bardas Phokas.
  • 994 CE
    Trdat the Architect completes his reconstruction of the dome of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople.
  • 995 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II wins victories in Syria against the Fatimids.
  • 997 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II reconquers Greece from Samuel the Bulgar.
  • 1,014 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II wins final victory against Samuel the Bulgar at Kleidion.
  • 1,018 CE - c. 1,082 CE
    Life of Byzantine minister, scholar, and historian Michael Psellos.
  • 1,021 CE - 1,022 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II wins victories in Armenia and Georgia.
  • 1,025 CE
    Byzantine emperor Basil II dies and his plans to invade Sicily are abandoned.
  • 1,025 CE - 1,028 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Constantine VIII.
  • 1,081 CE - 1,082 CE
    The Normans, led by Robert Guiscard, attack Byzantine Greece.
  • Apr 1,081 CE - Aug 1,118 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos.
  • 1,082 CE
    Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos grants trade access and privileges to the Venetians in return for naval support.
  • 1,084 CE
    The Normans defeat a Venetian naval force, allies of the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1,085 CE
    Alexios I Komnenos recaptures Dyracchion from the Normans.
  • 1,087 CE - 1,090 CE
    The Pechenegs attack Byzantine Thrace.
  • 29 Apr 1,091 CE
    A Byzantine army, with Cumans as allies, defeats the Pechenegs at the battle of Mount Lebounion.
  • 1,092 CE
    Alexios I Komnenos introduces the electrum hyperpyron coin (worth one-third of a gold nomisma).
  • 1,095 CE
    Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos quashes a rebellion led by Nikephoros Diogenes.
  • 1,097 CE
    The First Crusaders capture Nicaea.
  • Jun 1,098 CE
    The First Crusaders capture Antioch.
  • 1,107 CE
    The Normans, led by Bohemund, besiege Dyracchion.
  • 1,108 CE
    The Treaty of Devol is signed between the Byzantine Empire and the Normans, removing any Norman threat from the empire's territory.
  • 1,118 CE - 1,143 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos.
  • 1,122 CE
    Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos defeats the Pechenegs in the Balkans.
  • 1,126 CE
    Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos restores the trade privileges given to the Venetians.
  • 1,129 CE
    Serbia is obliged to accept Byzantine sovereignty.
  • 1,130 CE
    Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos defeats the Danishmendids in Asia Minor.
  • 1,133 CE
    Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos celebrates a triumph in Constantinople after five successful campaigns in Asia Minor.
  • 1,137 CE
    Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos conquers the Rubenids in Armenia and occupies the capital at Anazarbos.
  • 1,138 CE
    Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos besieges and takes the city of Shaizar in Syria.
  • 1,143 CE - 1,180 CE
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos.
  • 1,144 CE - 1,146 CE
    Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos wins victories in Cilicia, Syria and Asia Minor.
  • 1,147 CE - 1,149 CE
    The Second Crusade led by Louis VII and Conrad III.
  • 1,149 CE
    A fleet led by George of Antioch attacks Constantinople.
  • 1,155 CE - 1,157 CE
    The Byzantines unsuccessfully invade southern Italy.
  • 1,158 CE
    Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos signs a treaty with William I of Sicily.
  • 1,171 CE
    Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos arrests 10,000 Venetian traders across the empire to limit their stranglehold on trade.
  • 17 Sep 1,176 CE
    A Byzantine army is ambushed by the Seljuks at the battle of Myriokephalon in Phyrgia.
  • 12 Apr 1,204 CE
    Constantinople is sacked by the Fourth Crusaders.
  • 29 May 1,453 CE
    Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II sacks Constantinople.
Remove Ads



Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week:

Remove Ads


Visit our Shop

Ancient History Merchandising